A fatal shooting and a separate stabbing at unsanctioned parties celebrating Sunday's BET Awards in Los Angeles cast a shadow over the event, where top superstars like Lil Wayne, Chris Rock and others were set to mark the best in black entertainment.
One person was killed and five injured in two separate incidents ahead of the show at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Los Angeles police said. The events were "unauthorized and unaffiliated with the BET Awards," BET said in a statement.
"The network and all organizers will continue to maintain a safe environment for all planned activities," the statement said.
The death and four of the injuries followed gunfire early Sunday at a restaurant, Officer Drake Madison said. Separately, a man was stabbed in the stomach Saturday night at a nightclub.
The violence could change the mood at the ceremony. This year, some of the performers include Pharrell, John Legend and Nicki Minaj.
All the nominees
Top nominees were Drake, Beyoncé and Jay Z, who have five each.
Drake, who was originally set to perform at the show, did not attend. A representative for Beyoncé also said the singer wouldn't attend, and her husband's rep wouldn't divulge if Jay Z would be there or not. Their attendance had nothing to do with the violence at the weekend parties.
Drake didn't attend last year's show, where he won video of the year. This year, the 27-year-old rapper's Worst Behavior is nominated for the top prize, competing with Beyoncé's Drunk in Love and Partition, as well as Pharrell's Happy and Chris Brown's Fine China.
Beyoncé and Jay Z launched a co-headlining stadium tour days ago. She was nominated for best female R&B/pop artist, with little competition aside from Rihanna, while her husband battled Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and Future for best male hip-hop artist.
Pharrell scored four nominations, including best male R&B/pop artist, best collaboration for Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines and the viewer's choice award. Beyoncé, Drake and rising newcomers August Alsina and Jhene Aiko are also up for the fan-voted award.
Thicke, who is set to release his new album, Paula — an ode to his wife, Paula Patton, whom he is separated performed. Usher, Lil Wayne, Mary J. Blige and Iggy Azalea also took the stage.
Minaj and Azalea — whose anthemic Fancy has spent its fifth week on top of the Billboard charts competed for best female hip-hop artist, an award Minaj has won consecutively for four years.Lionel Richie was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the show, which was hosted by Chris Rock. Kerry Washington, Kevin Hart and Gabrielle Union were among this year's presenters.